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Special Olympics European Football Week 2024: Celebrating the Beautiful Game for All
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A team wearing green football jerseys and white shirts are lined up in two rows gesturing in triumph with fans in stands in the background.
Special Olympics European Football Week #EFW2024 will see exciting football activities taking place across the continent from 25 May to 2 June 2024.

Special Olympics European Football Week (EFW) is returning for its 24th edition, promising a vibrant celebration of football as truly the universal game for players of ALL abilities.

This highly anticipated annual initiative by Special Olympics Europe Eurasia (SOEE) will engage over 35,000 athletes in 350 events across 45 countries. Every May, EFW energises the European football community at all levels and this year will be no different. Over 100 football clubs and 45 national football federations have signed up to the 2024 edition and the campaign is once again receiving powerful support from UEFA Respect.

David Evangelista, Special Olympics Europe Eurasia President notes, “Special Olympics European Football Week represents the very best of our movement: positioning inclusive grass roots sport to drive social inclusion and unity for almost a quarter of a century. This message has been front and center, and has generated increased impact, engagement and visibility across Europe Eurasia as it reaches more athletes, more coaches, more fans and more moments of excellence from the athletes of Special Olympics. From tournaments to workshops to coaches trainings and beyond, #EFW2024 is a celebration of the transformative power of sport, and the urgency of inclusion, on and off the football pitch.”

EFW is an annual highlight in the Special Olympics sports calendar. Since its inception in 2000, it has seen the birth of more than 7,900 local, national, and international football activities, contributing immensely to changing attitudes towards players with intellectual disabilities and expanding inclusive football opportunities for all.

Thanks in part to EFW in recent years, opportunities for Unified Youth have witnessed significant growth. Unified Sports teams are comprised of an equal mix of players with and without intellectual disabilities. While only 14 countries offered Unified training and competitions two decades ago, that number has now risen to 48 countries.

Powerful partnership with UEFA has played a pivotal role in the evolution of European Football Week over the past 24 years. Each year, hundreds of clubs from European Leagues, such as the Italian Serie A and Serie B, German Bundesliga, and Polish Ekstraklasa, extend their support to individuals with intellectual disabilities.

This year, 45 UEFA member associations will support Special Olympics football and promote football as a game for all.

UPS Europe and Toyota Motor Europe (TME) have also become key supporters of the initiative in recent years, both funding grassroots football events and providing employee volunteers at activities across the continent.

Other crucial partners include EFDN who inform the football community about Special Olympics work via their “More than Football” initiative and ICoachKids whose resources are well used by coaches and physical education teachers around the world. 

Evangelista added: "We are so proud of our long-standing partnership with UEFA. Your collaboration helps ensure that European Football Week takes its rightful place as a key fixture of the European footballing calendar each year, showing the world that football is indeed the Beautiful Game for ALL.”

"The support of local, national or international partners has been key to the growth of European Football Week in last two decades, and we look forward to building on this success in the years ahead.”

For more information on European Football Week, please visit: https://www.specialolympics.org/regions/europe-eurasia-region/european-football-week?locale=en

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Communications
Special Olympics Europe Eurasia

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